Former Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson ‘blessed’ to be home coach at Carver High

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When Marcus Gardner was appointed head football coach at Carver-Montgomery, he wanted to solidify his squad with former Wolverines.

One of the first guys on his list? Former Carver and Auburn University quarterback and Mr. Football 2012 Jeremy Johnson.

“I wanted to have guys who are proud of this school and who bring energy and passion every day,” Gardner told AL.com this week. “That’s exactly what Coach Johnson is doing.”

Johnson, early in his coaching career, is Carver’s QB coach.

As a senior in school, he threw for 3,193 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 705 yards and seven scores for the Wolverines. He ended his high school career with over 8,200 passing yards and was a four-star U.S. Army rookie before signing with Auburn.

Johnson has spent the past two years as the college head coach. He briefly took a job at Park Crossing High in the winter before Gardner lured Johnson to his alma mater.

“It’s important to us,” Gardner said. “Coach Johnson is an example of walking for our children. He is a passionate coach with a great future as a coach. I think he will be the next great head coach in the region. We’re just happy to have him here.

Johnson’s last team at Carver in 2012 went 12-2 and reached the Class 6A semifinals before losing to Opelika 35-21. Johnson said his current students still remembered him. They should – he is the only Mr. Football in the history of the school and his No.6 jersey has also been retired.

“It hasn’t been that long. They know, ”Johnson joked. “I have been very fortunate to be able to play football here and to accomplish what we have been able to accomplish. Hopefully that will open doors for others as well.

“I feel like coaching is my vocation now. For me, it’s about giving back to my school and to my city. We must carry on this legacy. I feel like I have to be that male role model for these kids. I have been at the highest point and at the lowest point, and I’m still standing. I have a lot to give back.

After his successful high school career, Johnson did not have as much success at Auburn. In four years, he completed 179 of 282 passes for 2,224 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was not drafted, but spent time in the Canadian Football League and the Arena League before deciding to enter the coaching profession.

“It’s a blessing to be back home,” he said. “I am super grateful. It’s been great so far – just getting into the coaching industry and being back to my old school. It’s comfortable.

“Summer training is underway right now. The guys are working hard and understand the expectations for this season and this program for the next few years. We’re just trying to get Carver football back and start making deep playoffs all over again. Myself, I’m just trying to learn and grow as much as I can.

It’s been a bit of a drought for the Wolverines. Since Johnson’s high school coach Billy Gresham left in 2016, Carver has had three head coaches – Willie Spears, James Thompson and now Gardner.

The Wolverines have made the playoffs in two of Thompson’s three years, but have lost in the first round each time. They haven’t made it past the second round since 2013.

“The tradition is big here,” Johnson said. “I think it’s important to have guys who’ve been through what these kids are going through as we speak, that’s important – the pace and understanding of what comes from playing here. It’s a new environment for children with different staff. We’re just working to get everyone involved.

“We hold ourselves to a different standard. Children start to see it and they feel the energy that we bring. It was funny. It’s good to have guys who are proud of the school and want it to be a champion team. You cannot overestimate this.

Johnson said his ultimate goal was to be a high school head coach and maybe even land in college someday as a post coach.

“It will all work as it’s supposed to work,” he said.

In the meantime, it’s about preparing a young Carver team for the 2021 season.

“We’re super young,” Johnson said. “We are working hard and making progress. We give these guys expectations, but we don’t want to overwhelm them with this either. We need experience more than anything else. We need to put these guys in the spotlight. Once we get that gaming experience, I feel like we’ll be better. “


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